Are You One of the 6,000?

June seems like a blur to me. There was so much going on – the tragedy in Orlando and of course a month of Pride activities. Somewhere in the midst of everything, I totally lost National HIV Testing Day, which is held June 27th each year. Some people use National HIV Testing Day as their reminder to get their annual HIV test. Others use their birthday, New Year’s Day, or some other significant day that will jerk their memory to take care of this important health screening. With all that happened in June this year, you may have missed your […]

The Rest of the Story

At the beginning of 2016, I wrote a column about the obesity epidemic and how I’m one of every three Americans who is obese. I had made a commitment to myself to try to make some changes to my diet that would result in weight loss over time. I was equally committed not to “diet” in the traditional sense by denying myself the things I like. I had committed to exercising five days a week and to becoming more aware of what I eat by writing down what I was eating every day. And I’m happy to report that strategy […]

Getting to Know Us

According to a 2015 Pew research poll, 88% of Americans say they personally know someone who is gay or lesbian. That’s really good news for the gay community and likely a major cause for the social gains made in the past several years. In contrast, only 16% know a transgender person (according to a report from GLAAD in 2015) – only 9% of Americans over 45 say the same. For transgender folks, although the number has doubled in the last eight years, the challenge is clear. We have a long way to go in making ourselves more familiar, especially on […]

Mental Health Awareness

Stress is everywhere these days. Just listening to the news is enough to trigger anxiety and a stress reaction. Now more than ever it is important to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. We all experience anxiety and stress as a normal part of our daily lives. For example, a job interview triggers feelings of anxiety in most people. This type of anxiety generally serves us well making sure we are on top of our game and providing that little bit of extra attention to detail we need to show off our best. These feelings are brief and go […]

Support for Parents of Trans Kids

Being a child and also being transgender has never been easy. You know you are different. You know you are not like the other kids in your class. If people find out you hope they will still like you. You are forced to live with a secret so huge that it can be crushing. If your parents are supportive and help you to transition, you try to get by at school with no one else knowing. If your parents are not supportive, life is a living hell and your darkest thoughts haunt you daily.

Some Love for My Brothers

For all of my brothers out there, I’m sending some love to you over the next three issues because June is Men’s Health Month. Now there are lots of topics you can cover for Men’s Health Month – such as sexual health, cardiovascular health, prostate health, etc., but I’m not going to any of those usual suspects. I want to talk to you about mental health because it’s one of the most neglected areas of health for everyone, but particularly for men.

The Heroin Epidemic

What can you do about it? I was asked to write about the heroin epidemic for this issue. Where to go with that in only 500 words? I could cite statistics that show how devastating the epidemic has been statewide: seven deaths in Worcester County the first nine months of 2015, ,one death in Garrett County in that same time period, and 189 deaths in Baltimore City. Some neighborhoods have been decimated. In fact, the only county in Maryland that was spared a heroin overdose death in that time period was Caroline County.

Backyard Food Safety

Once when my son was about 12 years old (a long, long time ago) he got cut on the 4th of July while messing around with his buddies at the park and we ended up in the emergency room. This was not uncommon; we were in the emergency room frequently when he was a teen. What I remember about this trip however, was the number of people in the ER that evening puking their brains out because they’d been at a backyard cookout and gotten food poisoning. Now, as a nurse, I have to tell you that it can take […]

What is ‘Public Health’ Anyway?

I am a nurse, but I have never worked in a hospital or a doctor’s office; I never really wanted to. Hospitals are full of the drama of emergency rooms, operating rooms, of pediatrics and oncology and obstetrics. No thank you! I opted for public-health nursing instead. While other nurses take care of individual patients, I do that plus I help to take care of an entire community, too. That is public health, and we will be celebrating our unique work this year April 4th to 10th during Public Health Week.

Vitamin D and the Sun

In the past two weeks the sun is shining a little more often, temperatures are rising mildly, and the birds have begun to chirp and sing like they know spring is here even though the calendar says it’s still a couple of weeks out. I can’t wait to have a Saturday or Sunday to spend all day out in my gardens soaking up some of that sun. Instinctively I have always liked being outside on a sunny day. I think I’ve always felt better after soaking up some rays, like the sun recharged both body and soul. I don’t think […]